On September 7, trail-riding enthusiasts journeyed to Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford, Nebraska, for a weeklong escape into the rich history of the American West, marking two decades of camaraderie and chrome on APHA’s oldest annual trail ride.
The Fort Rob ride is the flagship of APHA’s trail ride program. The excursion began in 1996 and continues to offer riders an exquisite experience. Groups wind in and out of magnificent rock formations and across prairies adorned with the imprints of hooves of horses past; it is this momentous feeling that keeps Fort Robinson as an ideal destination for reoccurring visits from APHA members.
“There were 96 riders this year,” APHA Managing Director of Recreational Riding, Cindy Grier, said. “This ride became APHA’s flagship ride because of the unique beauty of the park, the accommodations available and the opportunity for a one-of-a-kind horseman’s vacation.”
The park offers lodging and stalling for guests and their horses. The Fort Robinson Inn serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, and the event includes evening activities, a steak cookout and an annual banquet with a silent auction.
“Trail riding as a whole helps put you in touch with nature on a personal level. You can give yourself a break from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and truly let it be just you, your horse and the beautiful things that nature has created around you. It’s a time to recharge and reground,” Cindy said.
Fort Robinson served as a military outpost from 1874 to 1948 and the timeless territory breathes the essence of horsemen who traveled the land centuries ago through its tall-grass prairies. Crazy Horse, Red Cloud and Walter Reed were just a few of the individuals who attributed to the historic foothold that is etched into the hillsides of the rugged pine region.
“As you ride on the buttes or across the vast prairie, you almost feel the buffalo that once roomed wild, or the soldiers or Indians that inhabited the area,” Cindy said. “You can visualize where the war dogs were trained, or where the army remount horses were bred and raised. It’s like taking a step back in time.”
The trip offers a yearly opportunity to meet new friends and traverse through the remnants of the Wild West. Details for the 2016 Fort Robinson ride will be released on the APHA website after January 1, along with a ride reservation form.
In addition to the annual organized trail ride at Fort Rob, APHA also offers Ride America, a program designed to challenge, recognize and reward recreational riding aboard American Paint Horses. Riders log time spent riding or driving their Paints; those hours are recorded on their horses’ lifetime performance records and earn participants incremental and year end awards, learn more and enroll at apha.com/programs/rideamerica.
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The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.